The April Agenda

April Flowers

It has come to my attention that I completely forgot about documenting my March agenda last month. Perhaps that’s partly because most of March was consumed with figuring out what constituted a low-iodine diet and in preparing for an I-131 whole body scan (which never happened due a snowstorm that hit the East Coast that week). So, yeah, March wasn’t exactly fun, nor did I feel very productive (but I was hungry for most of the month).

Since my health testing is temporarily on hold (through no choice of my own), I have decided to live it up a bit this month. With the weather improving daily, I want to spend more time outdoors and less time in front of my computer.

Here’s what’s on my agenda this month:

Go: I feel like I haven’t traveled much this year, so when I was asked to go on a work trip to Washington, D.C. at the end of the month, I jumped at the chance. Having spent two years going to college in D.C., I am always thrilled at the idea of returning—even if it is only for a day or two. While I won’t have much free time, I see a visit to American University and at least a couple of hours in the Georgetown neighborhood in my future.

Read: I have many books on my reading list, but sadly have not gotten to any of them. A fellow blogger recommended reading The Hopefuls, which happens to be set in Washington, D.C., and with my upcoming trip, it seems like the perfect read to bring along.

Try: I have wanted to try pilates for a while now as it is a nice complement to my yoga classes. So when a studio based in New York City and with locations in the Hamptons reached out to me on Instagram, I was elated. Unfortunately, with my busy schedule I have been unable to allot a day to driving an hour each way and taking a class, but now that the weather is nicer and the days are getting longer, I am ready to give it a go.

See: I never thought I would say this (and perhaps I’m too old to say this?), but I kind of want to see Beauty and the Beast. Is that wrong? I vaguely remember seeing it as a child, but after I heard the soundtrack on my way to work the other day, let’s just say my interest has been piqued. Have any of you seen it? Did you love it? I have been hearing good things.

Do: Two words—cat cafe. Yes, you read that correctly. I have been following Crumbs & Whiskers, a cat cafe based in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, for a while on Instagram. So you know I have to pay them a visit in person when I am in D.C. (trying not to take a cat home will be the hard part). To date, Crumbs & Whiskers has facilitated the adoption of 256 homeless cats, which is a mission I whole heartedly support. With every purchase from the cafe, a shelter pet is able to be fostered with Crumbs & Whiskers while they wait for a forever home. If you need a daily dose of cuteness, I highly suggest you follow them on Instagram.

What’s on your agenda this month?

The February Agenda

Winter Storm Niko

As I write this post, I have been cooped up in the house for a full 24 hours. But I am not complaining. I enjoyed a lovely (and very productive) snow day yesterday—which was a much-needed respite from my usual weekly routine. So, now that Winter Storm Niko has headed up the coast and left Long Island with more than a foot of snow in some places, it’s time to get back to the agenda…while we dig ourselves out.

Here’s what’s happening this month:

Go: As every good fashionista knows, Winter Storm Niko wasn’t the only thing making a debut in New York this week. Thursday also marked the start of New York Fashion Week. While I give major props to those who braved yesterday’s weather to see their favorite designers, not even New York Fashion Week could get me out of my cozy couture. With that said, I will be heading in to the City over the weekend to see a couple of NYFW shows—weather permitting, of course.

Try: Ever since attending the event with Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon at The Ash Center, I have been taking small strides towards eating better. I started by making sure to eat three meals per day, and I have been going grocery shopping more frequently so that there is always something healthy to snack on in the house. Last night, I made avocado Fettuccine Alfredo—which is a major accomplishment considering that I not only cooked dinner, but I also used an ingredient that I despise (that would be you, avocado!). FYI – avocado in an Alfredo cream sauce is relatively innocuous. I’ll share the recipe on the blog soon.

Do: Working out more than once a week is definitely on my agenda moving forward, but going to a strenuous kickboxing class after a long day of work is not my idea of fun. So, I’ve been looking for other ways to stay in shape—and supplement my cardio kickboxing. While scrolling through Instagram one day, I came across a pilates studio that offers classes in New York City and the Hamptons. I’ve wanted to try pilates for a while, and now seems like as good a time as any.

Visit: I am happy to report that I am in receipt of my recent thyroid blood work (after more than a few days of waiting for results), and as I suspected, my antithyroglobulin levels are still trending upwards. After speaking with my surgeon’s office, I will go to New York City next week for a second neck ultrasound and a follow-up consultation with my surgeon to discuss a potential treatment plan. I appreciate all of the prayers and well wishes that you’ve offered me and I will certainly keep you apprised of any new developments.

What’s on your agenda this month?

The January Agenda

Atlas Holding the World

Hooray! The first week of the New Year will soon be behind us. I will admit, it was rough heading back to the 9-to-5 come Tuesday, but with enough coffee, four chances to wear the nice things that Santa brought me over the holidays, and the possibility of some snow on the East Coast—we made it to the weekend. Congrats, my fellow cubicle dwellers and office mates!

The best part of this whole New Year thing is that we get to reset the clock in a way. Didn’t make healthy choices in 2016? You can do better this year. I’m still holding out hope that this will be the year that it’s announced sweets are their own food group and should be relished…but I digress.

So, if you are still going strong with your New Year’s resolution, you are to be commended. And if you have yet to make a single New Year’s resolution, have broken all of them six days into the New Year, or think you’re perfect just the way you are, cheers to your fabulousness!

Without further ado, here’s what I have on tap for the first month of 2017:

Do: One goal for 2017 is to save more money. I often wonder where my hard-earned cash goes, and then I look at the clothes in the closet, all of the makeup in the bathroom, and the Starbucks in my hand (#sorrynotsorry). In light of these vices, I recently signed up for my employer’s 401(k) where they offer a match. If there is one thing I feel strongly about it is not passing up free money—which is what you are doing when you fail to partake. As much as I might miss that 5% of pre-tax dollars that is being taken out of my paycheck bi-weekly, I know it is worth it in the long run. So if you work somewhere that offers a company match, take advantage of it. Yes, it might mean fewer lattes at Starbucks, but your inner Suze Orman will thank you—and you’ll feel good about yourself, too.

Go: Back to kickboxing, for sure! I’ve majorly slacked off in the fitness department (read: haven’t exercised since I was 29—and if you were paying attention, you would know that means November!). I am fully prepared for the first class to be as grueling as getting through this week was delightfully motivating without leaving me sore for days.

Buy: Ah, who can resist buying Christmas presents for oneself when you should be shopping for others? Now that the holidays are over, I have no excuse. But I just couldn’t resist picking up a new nail polish at this cute little boutique I stumbled upon. I’ve started paying more attention to what is in my beauty products, and have been eliminating chemicals where I can. One way I have done that is by looking for nail polish that doesn’t have the ick factor—as in, you don’t have to paint your nails with the window open, or worse—outside (like I do). So when I found “Like a Boss” from Aila Cosmetics, not only was I wowed by the gorgeous rose gold hue, but that it didn’t have that awful nail polish smell. I’ve had it on my nails almost a week now, but I have yet to report a chip. I’ll share a full review once I have more time to test it—but so far, I am impressed.

Read: My reading in 2016 picked up and tapered off in about the same amount of time. I was doing so well over the summer, and then came getting back into the swing of a 9-to-5 and my reading came to a screeching halt (sorry, Brené Brown, I still haven’t had a chance to get through your book). But since this month is Thyroid Disease Awareness Month, and in light of everything that is going on with my health (how you doin’, antithyroglobulin!), I thought I would make an extra special effort to read The Thyroid Connection by Amy Myers. As we get closer to my upcoming February testing, I will need all the help I can get in the thyroid department. Be prepared for a few thyroid-related posts to come your way this month!

What’s on your agenda this month?

The December Agenda: Holiday Edition

Holiday 2016

It’s starting to feel a lot like winter in these parts. Long gone are the mornings that I can jump into my car without first defrosting it…run out of the house in just a cozy sweater dress…or order an iced coffee from Starbucks without raising eyebrows. Yes, winter is upon us. While I don’t enjoy the cold, there is something special about this time of year—when holiday fairs happen almost weekly and houses are decked out with festive flare.

Even if the thought of snow is enough to send a shiver down your spine, you can still embrace this exciting time of year. Here’s what’s on my agenda this month:

Go: What could be better than getting your holiday shopping done? How about getting your holiday shopping done while scoring deep discounts? Sounds good, right? Then head to the Village of Port Jefferson, New York this Saturday, December 10th from 9 am to 5 pm for the annual Port Jefferson Shopping Crawl. It’s a fun day for the whole family where retail, professional, and services offer 10% and 20% discounts. You know I will be stopping in at Chocology for some fudge!

See: One of my all time favorite things to do this time of year is to head into New York City to see the store windows. Last year, I made the (near fatal) mistake of heading in on SantaCon (which for those who aren’t familiar, is essentially a very large pub crawl where everyone dresses up like Santa). I’m wiser this year and have planned my trip around avoiding the crowds that SantaCon generates. During my visit, I hope to get a good glimpse of the beautiful tree at Rockefeller Center, take a trip to the New York Public Library and see Patience and Fortitude in their holiday attire (remember them?), and perhaps finally stop at the infamous Max Brenner Chocolate Bar.

Do: Now that the house is decorated and the tree is up, I am in full-on holiday shopping mode. I’ve seen so many amazing gift guides, like this one and this one. So thanks, fellow bloggers, for helping me find great gifts for everyone on my list!

Visit: After going on the Holiday Historic House Tour in Huntington, New York last weekend, I think it is fair to say that I am obsessed with Long Island history and historic restoration. Seeing the painstaking details in these older beauties and the great lengths that the homeowners went to in the restoration process, truly blew me away. I loved learning about the history behind the property, who owned it, and how the property was used. The tour opened my eyes to the rich history in my own backyard. Long Island has many old mansions that are now museums and are open for the public to tour (check the list out here). I am under no illusion that I will be able to visit all of these properties this month, but my goal is to see at least one in December.

What’s on your agenda this month?

The November Agenda


November is my favorite month. Why, you ask? Because it’s my birthday month — and by month, I mean you get to celebrate your birthday for an entire month. At least, you should be able to, in theory. I know I might take my birthday a little too seriously (okay, a lot seriously), but I really do love my birthday. And this year is a big one. Yes, that’s right, I’m turning 30 — and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve learned so much in my twenties, but I am ready to put them behind me and move on to a new decade.

In the coming weeks, get ready for some reflective posts. But in the meantime, let’s talk more about the best month of the year (yeah, I am a little biased #sorrynotsorry).

Do: Well, now that I have announced it is my birthday m-o-n-t-h, I need to plan something special. But a party planning extraordinaire, I am not. I’m thinking a quaint bed and breakfast, complete with some time at a spa and a leisurely breakfast in bed should do the trick. Clearly, I am open to suggestions. So if you have done anything fun and memorable to celebrate a birthday, I want to hear all about it!

Try: I talked about taking an online calligraphy class a while back, and as a birthday present to myself, I will be participating in a one-day calligraphy workshop being held this month here on Long Island. Swell Anchor Studio is a creative calligraphy shop that specializes in wedding and event stationary. I found the studio while scrolling on Instagram, and was delighted to see that it was based on Long Island. Check them out for beautiful prints and be sure to follow along on Instagram and Snapchat (@livinginsteil) for some behind-the-scenes from my day at the workshop!

Go: November is also a great month because Long Island Restaurant Week takes place. The event runs from October 30 – November 6, 2016, and features tons of fabulous Long Island restaurants participating in the 3-course prix-fixe dining event. So if you are in the area (and don’t feel like cooking), head over to the site and make a reservation. But hurry, the event ends on Sunday, November 6th!

Buy: There have been lots of beauty buys happening this month (and last!). Although my obsession with Stila has never ended, I did switch to a lighter foundation for the summer months. Now that fall is upon us, I’m back using my Stila Stay All Day Foundation. And while the product itself is great, Stila has upgraded its packaging, and it is very visually appealing. So the next time you are in Ulta, take a look at their new and improved line.

Thank you for bearing with me as I make a fuss over my upcoming birthday. I’m excited to share a fun little reveal with you in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

What’s on your agenda this month?

The October Agenda


Thank you all so much for your support and kind words on Monday’s post. I truly appreciated the well wishes, and I found myself frequently revisiting your comments when the going got tough during the week. Change is never easy, but having a wonderful community full of encouragement has helped make the transition better.

As much as I love summer (and boy, do I), there is something about October that excites me. While I could live without the chilly weather, the thought of pumpkin and apple picking in the coming weeks makes me giddy.

My October agenda is packed with fall activities, so let’s get started:

See: I’m not much of a movie-goer, but every once in a while there will be a movie that I just have to see in the theater (partly because I’m too impatient to wait until it comes out on DVD). This month, The Girl on the Train is being released, and after reading the suspenseful thriller, I’m eager to put faces on the characters I read about. If the movie is anything like the book, it will be fantastic.

Go: I’ve mentioned before how much I love Long Island this time of year. There are fall festivals going on almost every weekend in different towns. This weekend, the Long Island Fall Festival is happening in Huntington, NY. The three-day festival has plenty of fun for the whole family, with live music, a carnival, and sweet treats.

Do: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Bloomingdale’s has events throughout the month to promote awareness. On October 8th, Bloomingdale’s nationwide will be hosting an in-store donation-based ($10) yoga class. Find a store in your area and reserve your spot to be part of a great cause — and get your Om on.

Visit: What would October be without a trip to an apple orchard? Last year marked my first visit to The Milk Pail in Water Mill, NY, and I want to make it a tradition. The orchard has the largest and juiciest apples I’ve ever seen. And while the prices may be a bit steep for a bushel, the overall experience is well worth it. When all of my apples are picked, I head over to the pumpkin patch to find just the right ones to take home and paint. Of course, no fall trip would be complete without an apple cider donut and candy apple for the ride home!

What’s on your agenda this month?

The September Agenda

The September Agenda

The leaves are starting to fall, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back on the menu at Starbucks, and it’s cool enough to throw on a sweater in the morning. Yes, it’s September in New York!

I love the chilly mornings that come with the beginning of fall, and I’m looking forward to breaking out my over-the-knee boots. But I am sad to have to pack away my rompers, lace shorts, and sandals.

Regardless of the change of weather, I still have plenty on my fall itinerary to keep me busy.

Buy: Summer may be ending, but a pair of slip-on sneakers have been on my wish list for a while. When I was recently at the Nordstrom Rack, I was delighted to find a pair of white Sperry’s that were as comfortable as they are chic. They will make their way to the blog soon!

Go: New York Fashion Week is happening right now! And thanks to an invite from Kate at Taffeta & Tulips (check out her blog!), I am heading into New York City today to see the Louis Verdad show. Make sure to follow along on Snapchat and Instagram (@livinginsteil) for a behind-the-scenes look at the collection.

Do: I am all about fall festivals — apples…pumpkins…yes, please! Thankfully, Long Island has tons of them…like, one going on every weekend in the fall. The only problem I have is deciding which one to go to!

Read: I still have Rising Strong by Brené Brown on my reading list. Here’s hoping I find some time this month to crack open the book.

What’s on your agenda this month?

The August Agenda

The August Agenda

August is always a busy month. Not only does it mark the final month of summer (even if the calendar says otherwise), but it’s filled with tons of fun events, trips to the beach, and with any luck, some time away.

As much as August makes me sad because I know the warm weather and long days are dwindling, I look forward to the activities this month brings. So let’s dive in!

Read: I’m proud of how many books I’ve read this summer. I went from reading solely blogs and magazines to ticking off a book per month. Pretty good, in my book (pun intended). Going into fall, I hope to finish two books a month. But for now, I just got through Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and can I just say, I think that book changed my life?! It was such an inspiring read and I’m looking forward to sharing a full review with you in September. This month, I’ll be reading Rising Strong by Brené Brown.

Do: Unfortunately, I’m going to miss Battle of the Burger presented by the Long Island Pulse magazine this year (see ‘Go’ below for why). If you’re on Long Island, you don’t want to miss this fun burger judging competition, which will be held at the Shorefront Park in Patchogue on Sunday, August 14th (click here for tickets). In a way, I’m glad I won’t be there because I don’t know how I could ever decide between Vauxhall, Dirty Burger, and GM Burger Bar (all of which are incredible burger joints on the Island). It’s going to be a tough competition, to say the least.

See: My summer wouldn’t be complete without attending the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, New York. The equestrian competition, which runs from August 28th – September 4th is one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the United States. Whether you’re an avid equestrian, or just someone looking for something fun to do on the East End of Long Island, this is the place to be. There are tons of vendors on-site, and when you are through with the show, you can head into town or to Southampton for lunch and more shopping. Maybe you’ll even catch a celebrity sighting. If you are planning a day at the horse show, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the sun (as shade is at a premium). You’d be wise to have plenty of sunscreen and water on hand. For more information on the show, click here!

Go: I’m going to be taking a road trip next week as I head from New York to Florida (by car going down and then flying back up). It will be the longest I’ve ever been in a car (with the exception of driving the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco). Follow my journey on Snapchat and Instagram (@livinginsteil), and let me know if you have any fun recommendations for my time in North Florida (or ways to pass 18 hours in the car!). My posting schedule will be a little lighter than normal next week. You can expect new content Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!

What’s on your agenda this month?

The July Agenda

The July Agenda

Another summer month is underway, and before we get too far into July, it’s time to set my agenda. The first part of this month has been busy with July 4th fireworks shows, a trip to Montauk, time at the beach and pool, and a performance by the Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra at Heckscher Park last night. So here’s what I have planned for the remainder of the month.

Read: I started reading The Kind Worth Killing, by Peter Swanson, and so far, I can totally understand all of the praise this book has received. It’s a gripping read, and with any luck I should be through with it in a matter of days. Look for another book review to hit the blog soon!

Do: Can you believe I still have not made it out stand-up paddleboarding this season? Yeah, I can’t either! It has been on my agenda for the last couple of months, but weather and time have conspired against me. Here’s hoping this will be the month of my inaugural trip out to the Huntington Lighthouse.

Buy: I thought I would throw this in as a category this month because I scored some major deals during the July 4th holiday. I had been eyeing a pair of laser-cut yoga pants from Anthropologie for some time, but the $98 price tag was a bit steep to justify. So when I saw them on sale in the store in early July, I had to snag a pair. Not only that, but remember those beloved C. Wonder sandals that broke and I tried to glue back together? Well, they have finally been laid to rest, and I picked up two new pairs of sandals over the holiday weekend. I have been wearing my Sam Edelman sandals ever since I bought them at DSW and they do not disappoint. As for the other pair from the Nordstrom Rack — they haven’t seen the light of day yet, but they will.

See: If you are the spy/action genre type, mark your calendars for July 29th — when the new Jason Bourne film comes out. Short of a James Bond film debuting, this is the next best thing, in my opinion. I’ve seen all of the Bourne films (you should catch up, if you haven’t), and I’m really excited for this latest installment. Plus, what better way to cool down on a hot summer day than with a good action film?

Go: One of the summer highlights is always the Great South Bay Music Festival, happening this year from July 14th – 17th. If an evening listening to music with performances from Lonestar, Blues Travelers, and many more — complete with waterfront views — is your kind of thing, this is the place to be.

What’s on your agenda this month?

The June Agenda

The June Agenda

How is it that it’s June already? I guess when you’ve been suffering with anxiety for the last few weeks, time seems to get away from you more than usual. On a happier note, I just wanted to thank you all for the sweet comments on Monday’s post. Talking about my anxiety issues earlier this week was hard but cathartic. And I truly appreciated all of you who took the time out to say that you could relate or to wish me well. It meant everything to me!

So, now that I’m feeling better and the weather is nicer, I guess I need to come to terms with the fact that we are in June. Let’s not waste another second of the soon-to-be summer month.

Here are some fun things I have planned:

See: If there is one performer I love, it is Sting. I grew up listening to The Police as a kid (“Message in a Bottle,” anyone?), so when I learned he was going to be performing with Peter Gabriel (another fave!) at Jones Beach on June 24th I was all ears (literally!). The last time I saw Sting at this venue, it was a frigid May day. Here’s hoping the weather cooperates this time around!

Try: Ever hear of Nitro Cold Brew? I hadn’t until I read my beloved Long Island Pulse magazine this month. This half-nitrogen, half-coffee concoction is the perfect drink to cool down with after long days at the beach. If this sounds like your jam, and you’re a Long Island local, head over to Vauxhall in Huntington, Speakeasy in Long Beach, or Bobbique in Patchogue, all of which serve this cold one up.

Go: The start of summer means one thing — polo season! And where better to watch the fast-paced game than at Bethpage Polo at the Park? Every Sunday from now until October, grab your cocktail dress and fancy hat and watch a game while enjoying a beverage and some light fare. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes that are conducive to standing out on the grass field!

Do: There are too many things happening on Long Island this month! But a couple have earned a well deserved spot on my monthly agenda. First, the 42nd Annual Long Island Bavarian Festival at Plattduetsche Park in Franklin Square is June 11 – 12th. My German side is looking forward to some authentic food (I’m coming for you, Bratwurst!). If that doesn’t add on the pounds, then the Strawberry Festival in Mattituck from June 16 -19th should do the trick. All I needed to see was strawberry shortcakes and chocolate covered strawberries to know that this is an event to attend!

What’s on your agenda this month?